The Aunty Fund – Teaching My Nieces and Nephews All Things Money

This weekend was awesome.   I had a chance to spend time with my mom walking around my favorite lake in Lake Geneva, Wi., I maxed out my Roth IRA (!), and I was reminded of the importance of giving back – not once, but twice.  

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The first reminder came when I read The Giving Fund on Ms. Montana’s blog, Montana Money Adventures.  Though a giving fund (charitable giving) is not a new concept, her post really put into perspective what these accounts can do and sometimes at just the right time.  The story she wrote is truly inspiring and a definite must read.  🙂

The second reminder came when I interviewed my BF’s 13-year-old son about money.  Here is a snippet of that conversation:

Me – What do you think is the most important thing about money?

Him – It can help you live.

Me – What if you had all the money in the world.  What would be the most important use of your money?

Him – Giving it to other people so they could live too.

So cute!  He didn’t want to buy a big mansion or a jumbo jet…or maybe all the money in the world had already bought him those things.  The point is, after he had it all, he wanted to give back.  It is in that vein that I have decided to put my money where my mouth is.  

It isn’t that I don’t give.  I do.  I keep food and snacks in my car to give to individuals on the street.  I donate anonymously to any mud run, race, or charity of the month that my friends or family post about.  I give to Go Fund Me fundraisers when people at work are sick, injured, or a natural disaster has struck…it’s a big company so there is always someone in need.  I quietly pay for meals when I see military personal in a restaurant.  And, most of all, I donate my time with volunteer projects – these are my favorite because I feel I actually am a part of the process of healing.  Though I do all of these things, I don’t manage the time or money in any way.  I don’t have a specific fund or amount that I put aside.  

Today I aimed to change that.  I opened a new account and am taking a page from Ms. Montana by calling it my Giving Fund.  With each paycheck I will fund my new account in order to give back to individuals and groups on a more regular basis and in a more mindful way.  I hope to be able to make a difference in somebody’s world – even if it is just for one day.  But I won’t stop there…

As some may say, charity begins at home.  I have been thinking a lot about how I can help my family and their future without just funding their lifestyles.  I decided to create the Aunty Fund (still working on the name 😉 ) and have begun research as to the best way to  contribute to the futures of my nieces and nephews…Trust? Custodial accounts?  One thing is for certain, I won’t contribute to any college accounts.  It isn’t that I am against higher education – I’m not.  I just don’t believe sitting in a classroom is for everyone…it certainly wasn’t for me.  I want these kids to have a choice in what they do with their future.  But don’t worry, I am not entirely leaving it up to chance…

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Being I don’t have children of my own, these kids are the closest chance I have at educating the next generation about money.  One of the ways I would like to do that is with financial literacy – to give them the knowledge they need to have strong financial roots that will hopefully grow with them long after I am gone.

I recently tweeted for suggestions on finance books for teens…I got a few likes but only one suggestion – thanks, Nicolas, if you’re reading!  🙂  It seems I will have to do a bit more research on the actual books, but my idea remains the same:

With every event, birthday, or holiday, I will be giving my nieces and nephews $10 and a finance related book to read.  If they read it and can answer a few questions, they will get a 100% match to the original gift…and possibly a hot fudge sundae from McDonald’s for extra motivation (food is a great motivator for Italians!).  If they don’t read it, I am only out $10 which would have been their gift anyway.

I aim to teach them about spending, investing (2 of them already own stocks!), and most importantly, I hope to teach them that although charity begins at home, it should not end there (Thomas Fuller).  I hope they will learn to go out and help others.  Perhaps I will teach them to start a Giving Fund of their own.  I am hoping these gifts will be way more long-lasting than whatever trinket or tangible bullshit they think they need in that moment.  🙂

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So what do you think?  Any ideas on how to set up the Aunty Fund?  Any books you are partial to for kids ages 10-15?  I am open to any and all suggestions!!

By the way, I also asked my BF’s son what he would call the money he takes home after paying all his bills.  His reply?  “Fun Time Money”.  Yup – I need to start a fund for that as well.  🙂

Until next time…

Wait – I forgot to mention one other minor thing…the Cubs won and are headed to THE WORLD FRICKIN SERIES!!!  Let’s take a moment to let that one sink in…

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Yup – a great weekend indeed.

 

12 thoughts on “The Aunty Fund – Teaching My Nieces and Nephews All Things Money

  1. Very admirable of you to open an official fund for charitable giving.

    On the kids teaching side – there is quite the age gap between me and my siblings. My oldest sister is just hitting 18, the other two siblings are in their young/mid teens. I’m finding the most valuable way to teach them is to be open about what we are doing financially. We recently sat down with my oldest sister and showed her the template we use for our budget, we then filled it all in with her expenses for university next year, showed her calculations of saving money, investing it, etc..

    We painted a customized picture, working with her, taking her specific numbers into account to show her the financial position she could be in after uni if she sticks to really good savings and investing habits. I think showing her the specifics of her own money made it even more exciting, because it was realistic and we are/were there to help her through it.

    Jasmin

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    1. Oh just thought I’d mention – my parents are terrible with money. It’s a big reason why Tristan and I are trying to take my siblings under our wing and show them some good financial stuff. Although all 4 of us siblings definitely learned what NOT to do from our parents, still a valuable lesson!

      Jasmin

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      1. Sometimes learning in reverse works better! You know how the results of being bad with money – better to strive for the opposite! Your siblings are lucky to have you both!! 🙂

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    2. That’s awesome! It’s nice to hear she is perceptive to having that type of conversation. My youngest sister is 18 years under me (half sister) and its amazing to see how differently we were raised. My dad pretty much gives in to her every whim where as we were brought up when money was tight and we weren’t spoiled. At 20 she is still at home waiting tables with no desire to get out of the cushy environment they have created for her, meanwhile, my Dad says over and over that he will never be able to retire. I wonder why?!

      My oldest nephew is only 12. I’m not sure he would understand a whole household budget just yet but I am definitely going to build up to an exercise like the one you mentioned. The whole picture is important for them to learn early on. For now, his mom has challenged the kids to not waste electricity and posts the bill on the fridge every month. If they can beat the prior months bill then they get to split half of the money. It’s a start! Thanks for the idea!! 🙂

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      1. Fantastic idea to post the bill on the fridge and challenge the kids to beat it. Giving them the money saved is great motivation too! Definitely storing this idea in my memory banks for when we have kids 🙂

        Jasmin

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the Aunty Fund is a great idea and I look forward to seeing your recommendations. Our oldest child is 17 months old, but we have several cousins that are in the 10 to 15 yrs age range.

    In addition to the ‘Uncle Eric” books, I also recommend anything from the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). A good short read is “I, Pencil”

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    1. Hey Josh – thanks for the recommendations. I’m definitely going to look into these! My youngest niece just turned one and the oldest nephew is 14. I can’t wait to get started on my little project…I mean, who doesn’t want a finance book for Christmas??? 😜

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

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  3. I love the idea of the Aunty Fund. Our nieces and nephews are all young adults. I wish I could think of something applicable for 12 years and under but we didn’t have our own sh*t together when ours were all younger.

    We’ve been trying to enter into a conversation with one niece who is the first one to marry – a doctor (a resident with over $200K of student loan debt who’s doing the debt forgiveness program). We’ve made it clear we want to help them understand investing but they yes us to death. I fear, especially with him being a doctor, that feel they know all they’re answers and that they’re just keeping a savings/checking account. All we can do is keep putting it out there.

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    1. Oh no! It’s going to be an uphill battle for those two. Perhaps you can introduce them to Physician on Fire? Maybe hearing it from someone of their own age range and profession will help. Otherwise, you’re right, trying to convince know it alls they may not know it all is like spitting on a forest fire 🙂

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  4. Fantastic idea! I’ve been thinking about more creative ways to help friends and family out too! I set aside money each month for the homeless and also try to find out about extra curriculars and educational opportunities I can try to help fund.

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    1. Hi Henry!

      It sounds like you are very generous with your time and money – I love that! I really think education is so important to the overall product…that coming from someone without a college education!! But there is a difference between formal education and being able to teach lessons from experience. It has been my experience that you can survive even the worst of financial disasters. I aim to teach that to others who may be stuck in their worst moment. I also believe that had I known what I know now I may not have put myself in the half million of mortgage debt that I found myself swimming in – that is where teaching our youth is so so important. Being proactive will help guide them in a heather direction.

      Thank you for all that you are doing to help and educate those around you. And thank you for stopping by to comment – it is truly appreciated.

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      1. Education comes in lots of different forms – I think encouraging an inquisitive and open mind will set people on the right track for a good future, regardless of more traditional ‘academic’ results.

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